Nacer Bouhanni is impressive; he was on the limit to get over the little rise on the run in – where Sky did a lot of damage to a lot of people, unfortunately including their own sprinter, Ben Swift who just scraped in to the top ten – but the wiry French fast man was right where he had to be for the finale.
Whilst he doesn’t have a ‘train’ a la Cav or Kittel, he does have some very committed men around him, not least Sebastien Chavanel who did sterling work for his boss in those demented closing kilometres.
Particularly in keeping Bouhanni ahead of the big crash on the final bend when Garmin’s Tyler Farrar touched a wheel.
It was big Albert Timmer who launched for Giant with Nizzolo taking it up for Trek; but Bouhanni has a jump as well as a being able to win a drag race and it was win number three for the F des J man.
With Demare on a rampage in Dunkerque and Picardie it’s be hard for things to be going much better for Marc Madiot’s boys – even a couple of years ago this level of success would be something the French teams could only dream about.
Michael Matthews dug deep to take third and respect has to go the young Australian who now goes home to lick his wounds after the biggest week of his career.
As we’ve said on numerous occasions; huge respect must go to GreenEDGE for their achievements in this race.
It was a day where the break was never going to survive but Messrs. Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocatolli) and Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli) picked up the poisoned chalice to get the best of the sun and mop up a lot of that precious TV time.
As Androni manager, Gianni Savio always says; ‘you must honour the pink race!’
Their lead went up towards nine minutes but when it came to pegging back the last of those four minutes as the finish approached the peloton took back what looked like a minute per kilometre – frightening.
The positioning fights started a long ways out – with 10 kilometres to go it looked as if they were inside the red kite. Evans in particular marshalled his troops very early and BMC were in there vying with Giant and Sky; and also QuickStep who had the same idea as BMC – keep team leader Uran out of trouble.
The wisdom of their efforts was proved when Farrar touched that wheel and in a second there was a huge pile of men and bikes on the entrance to the final right hander.
Bouhanni’s two index fingers pointing at his own head was a new one, although it could be interpreted as; ‘and it’s only gonna get bigger, folks!’
But here at VeloVeritas we cut the sprinters some slack; they’re allowed to have daft haircuts, loud casual gear, OTT paint jobs and make pronouncements which they’ll regret later.
It’s all to do with those fast twitch muscles, adrenalin and testosterone. But please Nacer, no Mike Tyson/David Clinger facial tattoos; we couldn’t cope with that.